Surrealist Doodle

Surrealist Doodle
This was used as the cover of Karawane in 2006 and I have included it in on a number of bags and postcards over the years. Someone on the subway asked me if it was a Miro. I was very flattered!

Friday, October 28, 2016

What is Writing?

So I am writing an "academic poem" for my writing studies class. It will be a very long poem/academic paper, although we don't really speak of epic poems anymore, since this won't really tell an epic kind of story. But it will include a lot of little stories about Cixous and Kristeva and Derrida and Barthes and many others. Here is the beginning of it, which is just kind of a riff for now.

Prologue: What is writing?

What is writing? Writing is everything. Writing is
communication, imagination, learning, history, memory, language, there is
nothing outside the text says Derrida, and I believe it and I don't there are moments,
says the artist Kiam Marcelo Junio, an artist from Chicago, says that there are moments
when we forget ourselves, they are only moments but they are perfect
moments when we forget ourselves drop our facades because writing although
it is expression is also an unnatural act . We do not naturally create texts – only now
we do. We do because it is all we know, so perhaps Derrida, loathe
as I am to admit it might be wait for it . . .
right. Maybe there is nothing outside the text because we can't remember
anything outside the text it's almost the way we can't remember
(according to the god people anyway) paradise eden there are
no perfect moments only text. But I digress . . .
Kiam Marcelo Junio . . . Chicago artist . . . says that there are moments when we forget ourselves
and lose our sense of self- consciousness and just exist

But writing is all the knowledge and creativity and creation and evolution and revolution and punk rock and heavy metal music and hymns and poems and treatises and manifestos and novels and academic articles and everything that we have learned and try to learn and strive to learn and know and catalogue and categorize and put into boxes marked kingdom phylum genre order class marxist proletariat species human and text and chora and Oedipus and his daddy Freud and his Mama Jocasta and Hamlet and Cleopatra the queen and the movie the woman(en) and the myth(s). How can you not be self-conscious with the weight of all that history upon you and all that knowledge and that was only half a paragraph or six stanzas if you will.

There is something outside the text. Unnamable feelings and joy and wild ecstatic movement and birds songs but the minute we identify it as anything at all, it moves inside the textual fence as it moves into consciousness from unconsciousness and there it sits until it becomes text and writing.

And so again, I will say, what is writing? Like Amiri Baraka once said, I think, of what use is
poetry? At least, a poet friend of mine in Minneapolis, J.
Otis Powell! With an exclamation point in his last name
used to recite a poem that he said was based upon Amiri Baraka's question of what
use is poetry ? Or as Paul McCartney, in the song Mrs. Vanderbilt,
(which is on the album Band on the Run) says “what's the use of anything?”
What's the use of the text? If we can't get outside of the text anymore,
then that makes the text a kind of . . . ideology since theory tell us
that it is impossible to get outside of our own ideologies, outside of our own heads, outside of
the text. Stupid Derrida. I hate it when he's right (write)(rite).
Death of the Author:
God and Mother

Think of the “death of the author” in terms of religion and childbirth,
which are not so far apart and which have been in the West,
uniquely masculine / feminine realms.

Death of the Author:

A Parable

In Christianity, Jesus (the author) must die and be resurrected so that believers (readers) can have safe passage to heaven (the text). This is the male-centered conception of the author as the all-knowing keeper of the text and of meaning. And in fact, Barthes speaks of “the ‘message’ of the Author-God” and says that “to refuse to fix its meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and his hypostases – reason, science, law” .

Women, however, have historically had a different relationship to birth and death, with many medieval women dying in childbirth. In this model, the woman (author) dies so that her child (the reader) may be born, but that child will be orphaned, with no one to guide her through life (the text). There is a “death/not death,” a voluntary withdrawal that happens here that can be seen as Cixous’ metaphor for the author. In her manifesto “Coming to Writing,” there are extended passages that are about losing yourself in mad love (amour fou, as Andre Breton wrote of), to writing, to a feminine writing. This is not a nihilistic death, as might be seen in Foucault or Barthes, but a joyous celebration of what it is to write. “Text: not a detour, but the flesh at work in a labor of love” (42). As if she were taking the death of the author literally, then, she says “in the beginning, there can be only dying, the abyss, the first laugh” (41).

A Joyous Nonsense/Non-sense: The speech of schizophrenics

Jameson called Surrealism “schizophrenic speech.” Jameson, like Freud before him, was baffled by both Dada and Surrealism and their attempts at nonlinear thought and speech to express the unconscious and to get at the unconscious, to free us all, particularly from the confines of so-called rational scientific thought .

I want to write something meaningful about
Surrealism something academically valid not to make myself a known entity employable or a respected scholar but because surrealism is meaningful to me, it makes me happy and it makes me feel liberated and I want other(s), maybe even big Others to feel liberated and feel the healing hands of Hannah Hoch or Hugo Ball or Raoul Hausmann and some other Dadaist or Surrealist with an H name so I can get good aliteration at the same time, be poetic, while I also tell you some very smart things about Surrealism.
They say writing about Surrealism is like dancing about architecture except that once I looked it up on Google the actual quote is that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. I could try to make the connection between music and Surrealism. They both work on an unconscious level. See, it didn't even take me long. But I am a lousy dancer and I don't know how to dance about architecture, although I know many good dancers and they tell me that dancing about architecture is actually a pretty good thing to do. I trust them.